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Leeds, England registered UK Charity No.1087961
Kingsport, USA charitable non-profit # 86-0957704
Oradea, Romania registered Charity No.14839712

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Adi Matis – Smiles Romania Assistant Director   May 2015

A Story Worth Sharing

As many of you will know, throughout last year we had a very special Wednesday evening presentation for the Mission Trip guests that came to visit us here in Romania. Being an Anniversary Year, the high point of each presentation was referring to these 10 years since the Smiles Foundation officially offered visitors the chance to meet and encourage the people that are supported through our projects. In 2004 we opened the purpose built Mission Centre and having welcomed over 3,000 guests – it was worth celebrating! And of course the ‘cake’ was also very important!

This year we will continue having the special Wednesday fellowship for each Mission Team, but the emphasis will be on something different: personal stories from our beneficiaries. The first one was last week – Alexandru, from the Homeless Project, who joined us and told us all the story of his life. It was a very emotional moment, so I decided to write about him and to share his story to a wider audience, something I feel is really worth sharing!

Alexandru is 62 years old. He was born in Oradea and lived here all his life. When he was young he started playing volleyball and he was pretty good at it, as he played in the national league for many years. His father was Romanian, mother was Hungarian and so they moved in Oradea where they had a very nice apartment right in the centre of the city. That was many years ago…

His only brother moved to Bucharest, where he had a great career being professor in the University and because Alexandru did not accomplish quite as much in life, the brother did not maintain the relationship, so Alexandru was left to take care of his aging mother and himself, as well as the woman he got married to. When he had the chance, after the Revolution, Alexandru went to Hungary to work and to make some better money, but that did not bring him much happiness. Due to various mistakes that he made and doesn’t want to talk of much, his wife left him. He moved back with his mother and tried to rebuild their lives.

But something happened that changed Alexandru’s life dramatically. He went again in Hungary to work and so he had to leave his mother alone in Oradea. Out of nowhere, a cousin of his showed up in Oradea and taking advantage of the emotional instability that the mother was in, promised her that he will take care of her and she will never be left alone again! She had only to accept to sell the house and move to Hungary herself, as he will buy a new house for her there. The poor old lady accepted, she sold the nice house and gave the money to this guy, who actually only bought a tiny one room apartment in Oradea and moved her in there, without giving any support and no money. When realizing she had been conned, the old lady got into a very serious depression and soon after that she died, having a heart condition that seems to have been fatal for her.

Alexandru was informed about his mother death but could not come to the funeral. When he finally came back in Oradea, he found out all that they once had was not theirs anymore! He lost his mother, lost the house, all the family he had. He lost everything. And that was the breaking point for him!

He started to drink to forget about his problems. He got bad friends that only dragged him down. He started to look for occasional jobs, but all the money went on alcohol. He moved in with some of these friends into a small basement, living in terrible conditions, with rats and damp. His health deteriorated severely and rapidly, but he didn’t care; he got to the point where he’d drink white spirit, undiluted, to satisfy the alcohol addiction. And so here is Alexandru, a homeless person now, with no family, no friends, living on a downward spiral that nothing could stop!

Then, one day, he decided to do something about it. He heard about the Smiles’ shelter for homeless and he made a request in the spring of 2013, promising God he’ll not waste this last chance, if granted to him.

It truly was the last chance! He was accepted in the shelter and so he got a decent bed at night, food and clothing, proper attention and counselling, caring friends and good advice! He started to change, to reconsider the priorities in life. He started again to look for jobs, he gave up the alcohol and he focused on becoming a "normal" person again. He saved some money and so he could take care of the health issues he had. He started to clean more often, fix his teeth at the dentist, he bought some new clothes, he cut his hair, he bought new shoes…

Now Alexandru has got his dignity back. He is stable and he is reliable. Many people he did gardening for were happy to have him working for them and asked him to go back, one of these people actually offered him a room in his own house. As this person was away most of the time, Alexandru would only need to be a presence in the house and make sure all things were ok. Such a difference! From not having a place at all to being in charge of the whole house!

We are happy and content to know we were there when Alexandru needed us. We are even happier to see him rising up again and having his life in order. He acknowledged that God gave him the chance to meet with Smiles people and he is thinking more and more seriously about his future and we are trustful that all things will be better and better for him, as now he knows better!

A huge "Thank you!" to all the supporters that make these extraordinary changes possible!

May God bless your heart and please continue supporting us and enabling us to create the means for this kind of success story, real stories of real people!

Let me know your thoughts, feel free to send me an email, to which I will gladly answer!

May God bless you richly!


Adi Matis
Project Manager
Assistant Director Smiles Romania


Previous reports from Adi:

March 2015 - Here in Romania, but not only...

February 2015 - New year, new hope and new plans

January 2015 - Management Team Reports

December 2014 - Preparing for the Celebration

November 2014 - A man's true story... an inspiration to us all

October 2014 - Golden September

September 2014 - A Summer of Experiences

August 2014 - Salard Community Reloaded

July 2014 - Sessions for the Mind

June 2014 - Unknown

May 2014 - Celebrate with us

April 2014 - Beliefs

March 2014 - From being taken care of to taking care...

February 2014 - My dream... to become a pig caretaker

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    Page last updated on 24/04/2015 05:14:44 PM
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